Thursday, July 24, 2008


Obama slides into the Tiergarten in Berlin like a wind from the West, a breath of clear air, an athlete at the peak of his game, nothing but net.

His speech masterfully wove the post-WWII history of the Berlin airlift, recalling the great feat of America rescuing their so very recent enemy from brutal Soviet blockage, and weaving it in with the challenges we face today for a compelling call to action -- a call for all to renounce apathy and take up leadership again, as only together, reunited, can we make the world we want to live in; the world we want our children to live in.

The 200,000 people who attended, in large part a young German audience, got an event they'll always remember. Without hectoring or scolding, he called up all better angels. He struck a righteous balance between love of America, in essence reintroducing America to Europe by way of his own personal story, and citizenship of the world. The latter, fodder for those within our own American ranks who would seek to destroy us by recidivism, xenophobia and ignorance, is in the grand tradition of both John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Not surprisingly, the two best orators to have help that office since Obama was born.

I can't see how this hurts Obama except with the hardened rightwing partisans and the smear merchants. It's been a long time since I've felt this rising feeling about America, deep inside, a true pride in the ideals of this country as embodied by flesh & blood. Obama's message to Berlin today was not to count us out. Not if he had made it there:

To quote an email I sent to a friend earlier today, I'm not sure the MSM wants to acknowledge Obama's awesome coup in Berlin -- they seem to be downplaying. But for any intelligent American the choice of McCain now becomes even costlier, as we've seen in pictures for ourselves all the personal equity Obama has now built with these key Middle East and European leaders. Only a fool would squander that for McCain, who might not even last four full years in office.

So aside from the semiotics of Obama's adventure, aside from the leaders-equity, aside from the sheer guts to take such a risk where one real faux pas overseas could capsize his poll standings, what I like best about the whole trip is that he's very, very seriously preparing to hit the ground running when he takes office. He understands in a way McCain (and Bush) doesn't the magnitude of the job. That's why he has a transition team already gearing up, win or lose.

It's not cynical semiotics, especially as his whole trip is a gamble that it won't turn voters against him for perceived "arrogance". It's that he's actually a responsible adult who knows what it takes to lead.

America, take heed. Protect this one.

I've said before that, no matter his attributes, by the time November 4th rolls around, voting for John McCain (should he still be on the ballot) will feel like voting assisted suicide for America.

I didn't realize that feeling would actually congeal so soon.

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